Toronto-Based MAPLE BLUES BAND Capture A Jazzy, Sultry, Strutting Confidence with Aptly Named “Mating Cry”

“Mating Cry,” the new single from Toronto-based Maple Blues Band goes into the jazz world for this, and is exactly what its name suggests – a sexily strutting tune that announces its grand entrance with bright horns and a fun, cocky confidence. And its tenor sax solo by Alison Young adds just the right amount of sultriness to seal the whole deal.

With crossover appeal in both jazz and blues, Maple Blues Band reached No. 1 on the Roots Music Report’s Canadian Album Chart for a fifth week total for their album Let’s Go, consisting of 12 of the instrumental compositions the band compiled during their association with The Maple Blues Awards. Their release of a full-length album of instrumental music is part of a master plan to launch the group into the performance market of festivals and concerts.

“Mating Cry” was composed by the late piano/organ genius Michael Fonfara. A founding member of The Maple Blues Band, Fonfara was with the band for 16 years.

“We added ‘Mating Cry’ to a show we did at the Calgary Blues Festival in August 2021 to make sure we wouldn’t run out of material,” recalls band leader Gary Kendall. “When I was editing a performance video of that show I realized that our version of that song was strong and should be added to the recording plans. And especially because it’s a fitting tribute to Fonf, who passed away in January, 2021.”

A highlight of the recording is Young’s aforementioned sax solo. “Alison is normally on baritone saxophone in our horn section, but I asked her to switch to tenor for the solo at our sessions,” Kendall recounts. “It was a good call for sure!”

The Maple Blues Band consists of Gary Kendall, bass/band leader; Pat Carey, tenor/saxophone/horn arrangements; Teddy Leonard, guitar; Al Lerman, harmonica; Jim Casson, drums; Lance Anderson, piano/Hammond B3 and accordionist; Howard Moore, trumpet; Meirion Kelly, trombone; Alison Young, baritone saxophone; and Roshane Wright, percussion.

The 12 tracks on Maple Blues Band’s Cordova Bay Records release Let’s Go are a group effort, as the songwriting credits are spread over 24 years, including past and present band members.